Syrian-Orthodox Archbishop Describes Fears of Syria

His Excelleny Eustathius Matta Roham Explains Plight of Victims of Ongoing Violence

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ROME, NOV. 15, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Syrian-Orthodox Archbishop of Jazirah and the Euprates, His Excellency Eustathius Matta Roham, said that there is a lot of fear among families near the border of Turkey and Syria.

“People are so afraid of a real war that could break out at any time between Turkey and Syria,” he said in an article published earlier this week by the Fides News Agency.

“People are very worried about their children, for women and for their properties. Many
of them are always ready to emigrate to Europe and other neighboring countries, which
are considered safer. We live in uncertainty: it is very difficult to say what could happen
tomorrow," he explained.

The Syrian prelate described the situation of two cities in his diocese: Ras Al-Ayn and Derbasieh. Fighting commenced in Ras Al-Ayn last Thursday, November 8, and it is now occupied by the forces of the Syrian opposition.

“Now it is very risky to go to the city,” he explained. “The current fighting will lead to its
destruction. I fear that the fate of our Christian community and churches, as well as that of
other communities, will be similar to that of other towns like Homs and Deir Ezzor."

Derbasieh has suffered the same fate, the archbishop added. On November 9th most people
fled for fear of being in the crossfire. "The people of Derbasieh was invited to leave their
homes, as the opposition forces, which are beyond the border in turkish territory, were ready
to occupy the city,” he explained.

“There was also an agreement between the opposition and the local Kurdish community,
who represent the majority in Derbasieh: government officials agreed to leave the city
without fighting and this agreement saved the lives of many civilians."